The Original Spinner

It has been a dry summer and only now have the rains returned. I am sure a happy side effect of the potent hurricanes.
To keep my horses happy as the pastures thin down, I lead them to a small field filled with rye grass, alfalfa and clover. They need time to eat and since there are five of them, I get many chances to sit still while they graze happily.

Horses love comfort and sweet moist grasses deliver much of that, but horses are also ever on the alert. While they graze they cast a wandering eye towards me or the next patch of greenery and will also lift their head suddenly to examine the cause of distant sound - tractor, a dog bark, a pheasant in the grass.

I love these moments. They are full of sweet satisfaction, rest and full attention. How often do we get there in each day? I lead my horses to eat and they lead me to a present moment.

The other day while pondering the earth’s turn and hanging out with my Palomino, I looked beneath his feet to see a wondrous sight. A black and yellow garden spider with the formal name of the Argiope aurantial. It is dramatic. These spiders are large, bright and intimidating. She was spinning away with her three claws on each foot, which help her manage her strands of silk while she spins. The zigzag is called a sabilimentum (who makes up these words!) and no one knows for sure why it’s there. Perhaps for camouflage, attracting food, or warning birds. But only spiders active in the day create them. This spider will respin the center of her web each day.

Spiders have been acknowledged throughout time and across cultures as inspiring the beginnings of spinning, weaving, knot work and other crafts. And as I sat with my horse observing the spider, I wondered about those people back in time who made an observation similar to mine and began to transform it into an artistic and practical triumph.

Spiders have been associated with the gods and goddesses as spinners and weavers of destiny, patiently connecting threads. Threads of silks, threads of an idea, threads of consciousness.

I am lucky to have my horses and my sheep connect me to these points of magic and mystery and I share this blog and this photo to weave you into this tapestry. In these times of war, a falling economy, mortgage crisis and general upheaval, it is reassuring to see an ancient creature spin an elegant world of its own design that will provide for and sustain its maker.

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